Archive for the ‘Human Resources Management’ Category

Favoritism in the Workplace Isn’t Always Bad

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

The following post is by Bruce Clarke, CAI’s CEO and President. The article originally appeared in Bruce’s News and Observer Column, The View from HR.

Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

Most view favoritism as undeserved special treatment of an employee by a manager.

“My manager has favorites” is a common concern. It is demoralizing to watch a co-employee be showered with special treatment when you know the individual spends more time on Facebook than on workbook.

Favoritism has a bad reputation. Every workplace would be better off if managers had more favorites. Here’s why.

Too much of the time, managers spend their day dealing with the 5 percent or 10 percent of their staff that cause problems, have problems or are problems. Performance issues, abuse of time off, interpersonal conflicts, time wasting, repeated instructions, petty complaints and so on make for a hard day and waste a lot of time. In a way, these are really a manager’s set of favorites if you judge favoritism by time spent.

Why not look at favoritism as building, rewarding and mentoring the top 25 percent of the workforce? Yes, I mean the people who show each day that they are there for the right reasons and, given a moderate amount of help to understand their role and how to grow, they learn and perform.

I am suggesting that managers make a list of their favorites and develop individual plans to reward and grow these favorites. Special employees should be treated in special ways. These are the ones that deserve your flexibility and advocacy for pay raises. Most important, they are the ones that truly deserve your TIME.

There is nothing more important you can give rising stars or high performers than your time. Do you know their career goals? Do they know what options are open internally? Do both of you have a plan to get them there? Do you even know why they stay with the organization and how to keep that glue sticky? Ask. Set aside time just for these conversations.

A good way to start is the one question meeting. “Tell me how I can help you get to where you want to be in this role and in future roles here at MegaCompany.” Let the conversation go where it needs to go. This is the employee’s meeting. Some will quickly tell you a specific plan or maybe they have considered leaving to reach that plan elsewhere. You will obtain a wealth of good information for your plan to make them the right kind of favorite.

Employees: if your manager is too busy on the wrong favorites, set up a time to meet for the purpose of discussing your role and your growth in the workplace. Make it very positive and focused on both better results for your team and better results for you. Develop a regular conversation with your manager around proactive problem prevention, efficiency and results.

I have to bring up this last point. Somebody is thinking, “But I have to treat everyone the same, right?” Wrong. You must avoid discrimination for unlawful reasons, but you are a malpracticing manager if you treat every employee the same regardless of his or her contribution and effort. Your best employees deserve your best, and that means special treatment in pay, smart policy exceptions and your TIME.

What’s the worst that can happen? Maybe other employees will see how to become your favorite and deserve the same special status!

Helpful Information from 3 Presentations at the 2014 Compensation and Benefits Conference

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Comp Ben Save Date 2014 (2)CAI hosted its 2014 Compensation and Benefits Conference at the McKimmon Center on Thursday, August 14 and Friday, August 15. More than 200 HR professionals and company executives attended the two-day event to review and discuss emerging workplace trends surrounding compensation, benefits and total rewards, as well as the impact these trends leave on culture and profitability.

This year’s conference speakers shared presentations on how to attract and motivate top talent, strategies to increase employee engagement, reinforcing a positive workplace culture, and more. Keynote presentations for the 2014 conference lineup included:

The Future of Attraction, Retention and Motivation: How Compensation Fits into the Process Anne Ruddy – WorldatWork

What Would Healthcare Look Like If Getting It at the Lowest Cost Was Your Key Priority? Skip Woody – Hill, Chesson & Woody Employee Benefit Services

Green Goldfish – 15 Ways to Drive Engagement & Reinforce Culture Stan Phelps – 9 INCH marketing

Leverage Marketplace Trends When Making Decisions about Compensation and Benefits Strategies Molly Hegeman – CAI

In addition to the keynote sessions, conference participants had the opportunity to attend several of the many breakout sessions. Why performance management fails, building high performing teams, work-site wellbeing, and understanding survey data are some of the topics of this year’s breakout sessions.

Below are three sets of insights conference speakers shared with last week’s audience:

–Anne Ruddy shared the changes in employee attitudes from recipients to consumers of rewards in her keynote presentation:

From:

Employer loyalty

Traditional work design

Pay = position

Retirement security

To:

Self-managed careers

Virtual, flexible environments

Pay = performance, market

Individual career management

 

–In the breakout session Why Performance Management Fails, Mike Maciekowich shared five reasons why companies need performance management systems:

  1. Help managers to observe their staff more closely and to do a better coaching job.
  2. Motivate employees by providing feedback on how they are doing.
  3. Provide back-up data for management decisions concerning advancement, transfers, dismissals, and so on.
  4. Improve organization development by identifying people with promotion potential and pin-pointing development needs.
  5. Establish a research and reference base for personnel decisions.

 

–CAI’s Sherry Hubbard-Bednasz explained the purpose of salary surveys in her presentation Taking the Mystery Out of Survey Data:

Salary surveys:

  • Provide a fair representation of pay practices occurring in the market
    • Sample reflects population
    • Consider source, methodology, transparency
  • Show how variables impact pay
    • Size of company
    • Industry/sector
    • Geography
  • Indicate trends in pay
    • Overall market movement
    • Movement in certain segments
  • Inform compensation decisions as a guide, not absolute

For additional information on CAI’s conferences, please go to https://www.capital.org/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?site=cai&webcode=cai-training-conferences.

 

Survey Reveals Women and Millennials in Leadership Yield Greater Company Success

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

women leadersMost companies strive to create a work environment that embraces diversity. Differences in age, gender and other characteristics benefit companies in numerous ways, such as various perspectives for problem solving or creating new business opportunities.

New research from DDI and The Conference Board highlights a critical difference between the top and bottom corporate financial performers—companies with more women in leadership roles perform better. Another finding from the survey indicates that millennials in leadership roles can also impact business success positively.

The Global Leadership Forecast (GLF) 2014/2015, Ready-Now Leaders: Meeting Tomorrow’s  Business Challenges is the seventh edition of the annual report that DDI has put together since beginning this research in 1999. This year’s report includes responses from 13,124 global leaders and 1,528 human resources executives within 2,031 organizations. Survey results represent 48 countries and 32 major industries.

Here are some insights the survey revealed:

  • Men and woman are equally competent workers. However, men tend to portray themselves as more effective leaders overall than woman do.
  • In comparison to men, women are not as likely to rate themselves as highly-effective leaders.
  • Women are also less likely than men to have completed international assignments, led across geographies or countries or teams spread out geographically.
  • Of the participating organizations, those in the top 20 percent of financial performance have 37 percent of their leaders as women and 12 percent of their leaders are high-potential women.
  • Organizations in the bottom 20 percent count only 19 percent of their leaders as women, and 8 percent of their leaders as high-potential women.
  • An organization’s rate of growth is directly linked to the number of millennials in leadership roles.
  • Companies that were more financially successful were also more likely to have a higher percentage of millennial leaders.

“To improve business outcomes, bolster current development programs so that all leaders, including women and millennials, can improve their skills,” said Evan Sinar, Ph.D., DDI Chief Scientist, Center for Analytics and Behavioral Research (CABER) Director and study co-author. “Development opportunities build confidence. Provide opportunities for stretch assignments, ensure formal practices are in place to facilitate those opportunities and fully-commit your support to mentoring programs to develop and prepare new leaders.”

Receive full access to the report on DDI’s website here.

 

 

 

Evaluating the Softer Skills of a Top Candidate

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins shares the importance of analyzing a job candidate’s soft skills to uncover ways he or she can help your organization succeed if hired.

Renee' Watkins, HR Advisor

Renee’ Watkins, HR Advisor

When seeking top talent for a current job opening, the first criteria we most often use to identify the right candidates is a combination of education, experience and skill. These factors can be used, in part, to predict whether or not a candidate has the ability to be successful in the role for which they are being considered.

While these factors are very important, the long-term success of a candidate within your organization can depend more heavily on their softer skills, which tend to come across during the interview process.

With limited resources, stiff competition for talent and smaller amounts of time for assessing candidates, HR has to use their opportunities wisely to drill very quickly down to these softer skills.

The following interview questions can be used to provide you with a deeper insight into exactly what this candidate can bring to the company in addition to their education and experience:

  • What can you tell me about our company? Give me your analysis of our business. Look for the candidate’s initiative, ability, values and confidence.
  • Tell me about the first five things you would do if hired. Look for the candidate’s thought process, prioritization and execution.
  • Name five things you need to be successful in this role. Name three things you consider obstacles to that success. Look for the candidate’s expectations from the company and their ability to overcome obstacles.
  • Discuss a time you took a risk and failed versus a time you took a risk and succeeded. Look for the candidate’s willingness to take risks and ability to accept failure.
  • What was one of your proudest moments at work? Look for the candidate’s preferred work style (team player, solo contributor).
  • Where do you see yourself in two more career moves? How will this position help you get there? Look for the candidate’s long-term thinking, motivation and expectations.

To be a successful hire, candidates need to be a great corporate fit for your organization. You also want individuals who are thinking long-term with confidence in their own abilities to succeed within your company. For additional guidance, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

 

Your Employees Won’t Work Hard for a Robot

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

The following post is by Bruce Clarke, CAI’s CEO and President. The article originally appeared in Bruce’s News and Observer Column, The View from HR.

Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

Think about your best manager ever.

The one that you trusted, learned from, worked hard for, took problems to and even enjoyed. The one that managed you with both clarity and humanity. The one that knew you as an individual and took a genuine interest in your development. Do you have this person in mind?

Many managers are good communicators and handle workplace issues well. They might even be good teachers and technical geniuses. They may have regular meetings with you to be sure you are on the “same page.” But the human element that makes them truly impactful and inspirational is too often missing.

Somewhere along the way, managers (and some in HR) have lost sight of this important fact: nobody works hard for a robot or simply to earn revenue. They work hard for people who know them as individuals.

The great workplace leaders understand this human element. It builds bonds that allow your organization to solve big problems, face great challenges and obtain extraordinary results from all types of people.

Think again of your best manager ever. Would you work twice the hours for two weeks to get a big project done for that individual? Would you bring him or her your bestideas and best work every day? Would you accept and understand when you received an answer you did not like? Would that manager make your view of the company much more positive, making you much more likely to stay?

I bet your best manager even knew quite a bit about you as a person and showed it in appropriate ways. Maybe you both enjoyed discussing your family, your hobbies, common schools/teams, your dog or even political topics. Maybe you shared your feelings about free time, what you hope for or what you are concerned about.

What about the time your manager attended that awards ceremony on your behalf or that soccer game you played? How did you feel when a manager did something nice for your child? The point is, your manager knew what you cared most about in this world and showed that s/he cared, too.

It is not a great deal more complex than that, but managers tend to avoid the right kind of personal topics with employees, while a few spend too much time on the wrong personal topics. I’ve seen lawyers scare good managers away from positive personal conversations and relationships (with fears of lawsuits) while failing to sufficiently scare the harasser away from negative personal interactions.

The human element is key to maximizing both work performance and enjoyment. One of my favorite workplace authors is Patrick Lencioni (“The Three Signs of a Miserable Job”). He says this human element means taking a Genuine Personal Interest in employees and each other. Each of those three words was chosen carefully. The opposite might be called an Insincere Prying Irritation.

Other non-genuine interactions: asking the same question each day to the same people (“How ’bout them Heels?”), forcing the interaction, focusing on things you care about, doing the same thing for everyone or treating interaction as a one-way street. Employees, your manager would appreciate a Genuine Personal Interest from you as well.

Maybe this is natural to you. Keep it up! If it is unnatural or stressful to you, find ways to bring the human element into your workplace interactions. Observe what employees display in their workspace. Chances are they care deeply about those things and people.

Think about the power of a Genuine Personal Interest in improving conversations, building trust and creating a common language . . . and boosting performance.

The only person who wants to work hard for a robot is the technician who changes its oil.

 

5 Recruiting Tips for Your Hiring Needs

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

recruitingAs the job market roars back into the limelight of post-recession America and our national unemployment rate plummets to a satisfying 6.3%, companies from basement start-ups to fortune 500’s are hiring again. The question is, who’s doing all of their recruiting?

Well, it depends. For anyone having grown up in the millennial generation the answer is simple, social media. As our society becomes ever increasingly social, more people are absorbing most if not all of their news, entertainment and career resources from various sites online. As a result, recruiters today have a vast world of social resources that weren’t imaginable even 10 years ago.

But then again, if you ask someone from a more experienced generation, they’ll tell you that while social media does have its advantages, not everyone uses it and there is still something to be said about hiring a professional recruiter to handle everything for you.

Obviously, there’s no one-size-fits-all method to recruiting, but when so much is riding on making the right decision, one thing is for sure, it’s better to get it right the first time than waste time, money and energy refilling the same positions.

Here are five steps to making sure your next hire is your best hire!

Advertising is key

When trying to attract the right candidates for the job, the first thing you have to address is where to place the post. Who is your audience and where might they look if they were searching for a job? First, you could consider your standard issue job boards such as Careerbuilder.com, Monster.com, Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com. Next, we would recommend finding sites that directly relate to your industry or a particular career area. Many professions have sites, communities or organizations dedicated specifically to collaborate and host jobs boards for people of a particular skill set. Then, you should consider any credible social media outlets that could help. LinkedIn is a wonderful tool for recruiting.

Thorough screening process

Once you’ve posted your openings on a few job boards, you should start receiving resumes. If you’re not seeing any responses you may want to go back and reevaluate your previous posting decisions. Sifting through an inbox full of resumes may very well seem like a daunting task, but it is by far one of the most important steps to eliminating those who are not right for the position. To make the selection process easier, you can start by automatically deleting the applicants who:

  • Have spelling errors
  • Forgot to attach a resume/document
  • Did not follow your instructions

Not saying that they’re not qualified, but if they don’t care enough to check their spelling or follow instructions, are they really the candidate you’re looking for?

 

Assessment Tools

Once you’ve whittled your list down, it’s always a good idea to test their knowledge, because anyone can look good on paper! Testing could range from a simple computer test, to a more complex test of their skill set or even a comprehensive personality test so you know exactly who they are regardless of what they seem like over the phone.

 

Interviewing

After you’ve gathered your applicants’ test results, you should have a much smaller list than you started out with. At this point, it’s time for the in-person interview. This should give you a much better understanding of how your applicants carry themselves.

  • Are they professional?
  • Are they knowledgeable?
  • Are the able to hold a conversation and maintain enthusiasm for what they do?
  • Can you see yourself working with this person in the future?

If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then you may have yourself a winner!

 

Background checking

Lastly, and quite frankly one of the most important steps in the hiring process is the background check. Your candidates may have an impressive resume, pass your assessments and all of their interviews with flying colors, but do they have a criminal past? If so, that’s something that they should have already mentioned when you ask them for permission to do a background check and if they didn’t why? Are they embarrassed or are they hiding something? Either way, you need someone who will always be forthcoming and honest with you, and a background check will not only eliminate those questions, but also give you the peace of mind that you’re hiring who you think you are.

For more information on recruiting or CAI’s recruiting services, please contact Jill Feldman, jill.feldman@capital.org 919.431.6084 or Molly Hegeman, molly.hegeman@capital.org 919.713.5263.

 

 

4 Ways to Keep Company Productivity High in the Summer Months

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

work summerSummer can be full of distractions. The hot weather of the season encourages employees to dedicate fewer hours to the office or take vacations with their friends or families. Your clients may also be making vacation plans, so their requests may decrease temporarily. For these reasons, productivity during the summer months can slow down. However, with proper planning and participation from managers and direct reports, you can keep business moving as usual. Try the four ideas below to keep your company productive:

Devise a plan

Because it’s vacation season, fewer people will be in the office. Missing a few employees doesn’t mean you can’t continue company projects in an efficient and effective way. Schedule a few minutes with your employees before they take time off to discuss the tasks and assignments that need to be completed while they are away. Teamwork will be instrumental in meeting or exceeding deadlines.

Practice flexibility where you can

Many employees prefer to spend their summer evenings and free time with their friends and loved ones. Being more flexible in the summer months to allow your employees to get home and spend quality time with people outside of work will be appreciated. Several companies are partaking in the trend of letting staff members leave early on Fridays. Similar to the effects of a nice summer break, leaving early on Fridays will have your employees returning invigorated and ready to perform on Monday morning. Another option to encourage flexibility is to have your employees come in earlier or work through their lunch breaks to leave the office sooner.

Work ahead of schedule

The demands of your top clients might slow down as people begin to make plans for summer trips. Instead of waiting for a request, work on a project that has been on the bottom of your to-do list for the past several months. Be productive and efficient with the tasks you decide to tackle during the summer months. If you know of a project that you’ll be working on in the future, go ahead and start working on it. The more you get done during the slower months, the less stressed or pressed for time you’ll be in the busier months.

Have some summer fun

Maintaining stellar productivity over the summer is a goal of most companies. Although everyone is in agreement that keeping up productivity is important, summer is all about having fun. Don’t lose opportunities to engage your employees and show them that they are valued. Plan a fun activity, like a pizza party or a trip to a local baseball game, to show them that you appreciate their contributions throughout the year.

For additional tips for keeping business productivity high, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

 

 

Compensation Rises as Top Contributor to Job Satisfaction for Employees

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

money blogAccording to a recent research report by The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employees in the US are now connecting their compensation to their happiness at work. The report, Job Satisfaction and Engagement: The Road to Economic Recovery, revealed that when asked what was very important to them, 60 percent of the participants said compensation/pay, which made it the biggest contributor to job satisfaction. SHRM conducted the survey in 2013 and polled 600 randomly selected employees at small to large companies.

Compensation/pay held the top spot in the employee satisfaction survey before the recession hit, specifically between 2006 and 2007. During the years of the recession, compensation/pay held lower rankings. SHRM conducts this survey annually.

“Incomes have grown slowly since the recession, and that undoubtedly is having an impact on workers’ priorities and one explanation for the leap to the forefront by compensation,” said Evren Esen, director of SHRM’s Survey Research Center.

Other noteworthy data the survey showed include that four generations of workers ranked compensation/pay as either the top or second-choice aspect of job satisfaction and employees at all job levels, with the exception of executives, ranked compensation/pay as one of the top three contributors to overall job satisfaction.

For more information on how compensation affects job satisfaction, retention and recruiting, please join us for the 2014 Compensation and Benefits Conference at the McKimmon Center on August 14 and August 15. Specific presentations that will focus on employee compensation and salary data include:

The Future of Attraction, Retention and Motivation: How Compensation Fits into the Process Anne Ruddy – WorldatWork

Leverage Marketplace Trends When Making Decisions about Compensation and Benefits Strategies Molly Hegeman – CAI

Taking the Mystery Out of Salary Survey Data Sherry Hubbard-Bednasz – CAI

Proactive Uses of Compensation Analysis – An Employer’s Perspective Kaleigh Ferraro – CAI & Member Company Panel

Additional topics presenters will cover include: why performance management fails, driving engagement and reinforcing culture, building high-performing teams, controlling healthcare costs, wage and hour regulations, retirement planning, and more! Visit www.capital.org/compconf for detailed information about speakers and session topics. Register today!

Photo Source: Miran Rijavec Stan Dalone

 

 

Using Collaborative Learning to Increase Critical Thinking

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

In today’s post, CAI’s Peer Learning Recruiter, Jennifer Montalvo, shares the benefits that collaborative learning can bring to an organization.

Jennifer Montalvo, Peer Learning Recruiter

Jennifer Montalvo, Peer Learning Recruiter

Strong collaboration in a work environment is crucial to the success of any company. However, how much thought is given to learning collaboratively? When professionals are paired together in small groups, collaborative learning encourages the achievement of professional goals. According to Virginia Tech’s Journal of Technology Education (vol.7 no.1), collaborative learning enhances critical thinking. This concept is not something new; rather a notion measured and proven over many years.

The act of exchanging ideas within small groups not only increases interest, but promotes critical thinking. The members of these small groups are allowed the opportunity to engage in discussion, take responsibility for their own learning and strengthen their ability to actively and skillfully conceptualize information. We currently live in the world of the continuous “busy.” Being in a group such as this allows the learner to slow down, share, listen and evaluate themselves and others.

Participants in collaborative learning environments experienced the following benefits:

  • Improved understanding of issues presented
  • Shared knowledge and experience
  • Receiving and giving of helpful feedback
  • Higher level thinking ability
  • Openness to new perspectives

The time spent participating in collaborative learning opportunities also affected the social and emotional well-being of participants in the following ways:

  • Problem solving felt easier, and almost enjoyable, in a relaxed, trusting environment
  • Greater responsibility – not just for self but for the group as well
  • New relationships built and growth of professional network

One way CAI promotes collaborative learning is through our peer learning groups. For more information please see http://j.mp/pe-er, or contact me directly at jennifer.montalvo@capital.org or 919‑431‑6093.

Consider enhancing your critical thinking skills within the workplace by incorporating collaborative learning amongst peers.

 

Tough Conversations with Underperforming Employees

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins offers advice to prepare for tough conversations about performance with employees who aren’t meeting expectations.

Renee' Watkins, HR Advisor

Renee’ Watkins, HR Advisor

From time to time, every manager must deal with an employee or team member who is not performing up to their potential or the demands of their position. So, what is the best way to deliver that message to the employee so as to make it clear their performance is less than expected and changes must be made if they are to continue in their current role?

Below are some suggestions that may help. Some of these may work better than others, depending on the personalities of the employee and manager, and the relationship between the two.

Make sure you are direct

Be direct when speaking with the employee. If you beat-around-the-bush, your meaning may come across as unclear or unimportant. By being direct and clear in your message, you are giving the employee every chance to take the initiative and improve their performance. If they fail to understand the importance of your message, they may not take it seriously enough to change.

Cite specifics

When talking with the employee about their performance, make sure you cite specific examples. There has to have been some trigger, or set of events, that led you to have this conversation with them. Detail these examples so the employee will be able to visualize what you are seeing and understand how their action (or lack of action) is hurting the organization. These kinds of details will help you to make your point.

Remind the employee of expectations

Performance standards and consequences should always be set up front with new employees during onboarding. Therefore, this type of conversation should simply be a reminder of expectations they are already aware of. You expect the best out of everyone, from start to finish, every day. Most employees will work to improve their performance, while others may decide to simply skate by and offer their bare minimum effort. Take opportunities and make time to discuss progress or lack thereof. Document the discussions, expectations and consequences.

Deliver a formal write-up

This will provide a detailed evaluation and documentation of their current performance, putting them on notice that their position with the company is in jeopardy if improvement is not made and maintained. Verbal warnings can and should be documented. A properly constructed written warning following your policy leaves no doubt as to the issues, expectations and consequences.

Owning their own fate

During a period of re-evaluation of their performance, work with the employee to set realistic goals to be achieved. Once agreed to, the ball is in the employee’s court to succeed or fail. If successful, be sure and attribute the credit to their determination. If they fail, however, you have to be strong enough not to accept any excuses for not meeting their goals. Their fate is in their hands and they must be held accountable.

Have a solid, clear policy in place

By the time you reach a point where their continued employment is in jeopardy, the employee should not be surprised by this conversation. Regular performance reviews and a clear policy on disciplinary action for poor performance should already be in place and communicated. This is their opportunity for improvement and you have stated the importance of this message. There is no excuse for their not understanding what is about to happen if their performance does not improve.

If you have questions about taking disciplinary action with underperforming employees, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919‑878‑9222 or 336‑668‑7746.